Monday 18 Feb 2019 | 10:46 | SYDNEY
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The bolt from The Hague

Yesterday’s unanimous Award by the five-member tribunal of the Permanent Court of Arbitration was three years in the making, but for the Philippines it was worth the wait. Of the 15 cases submitted by the Philippines in its dispute over China’s excessive maritime claims in the South China Sea

Chilcot: Intelligence, policy and war

Sir John Chilcot’s report had an impressively long gestation. The eventual release of 12 volumes totalling over two and a half million words amounts to a comprehensive indictment of British Prime Minister Blair’s unilateral decision to support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. More than

The G20 stalls on fossil fuel subsidies

G20 countries agreed to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies in 2009. Seven years later, they are still making the same promise with no agreement as to how and when they will achieve this goal.  There have been some important developments in global energy since the 2009 Pittsburgh G20

What THAAD deployment in South Korea means for China

Last week South Korea and the US confirmed their decision to deploy the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on South Korean soil. This deployment is a joint response to North Korea’s continual testing of new medium- and long-range ballistic missiles and to its belligerent

What's next for ISIS in Indonesia

What if there was a suicide bombing in Central Java — and no one cared? That is effectively what happened a week ago, on 5 July, the last day of Ramadan, when yet another inept Indonesian terrorist killed himself and no one else at the municipal police command in Solo. Unlike the Jakarta

What does Putin want?

It's a tough question, with various layers, and might make Putin himself pause. Here's an attempt at an answer. Putin wants to win; he wants victory. So how he would he define victory? First, he must be able to rule securely till 2024, as a constitutional amendment he enacted allows. Securing that

John Howard and the Chilcot Inquiry

Last night all two million plus words of the Report of the Iraq Inquiry (otherwise known as the Chilcot report) were released to the general public. The Chilcot Inquiry found that Iraq did not present an imminent threat at the time of military action, that diplomatic efforts seeking disarmament had

'The Pivot': Yes, it is all about China

Thanks to Kurt Campbell for his prompt and thoughtful response to my review of his recent book The Pivot. Kurt’s post helps to clarify the key areas of difference between our views on the nature of America’s policy challenge in Asia today, and the adequacy of the Pivot policy as a

What an existential threat looks like

Politicians often talk loosely about terrorism as an 'existential threat', which is a vast overstatement — terrorists don't have the capability to undermine the character and essential functions of advanced nation-states. Unless those terrorists have nuclear weapons. Here's a short video

Chilcot Inquiry: What Blair knew in the rush to war

The Chilcot report into the invasion of Iraq will be released later this evening (AEST), and it should be a devastating indictment of how Britain was misled into an illegal, unnecessary, unpopular, foolish and ultimately disastrous war in 2003. Why do I say this? Because almost all the relevant

Why we should go to G20, minister or no minister

The Australian Financial Review's Lisa Murray and Angus Grigg have identified one consequence associated with the drawn-out election results. Australia may not have our Trade Minister represented at upcoming two-day G20 trade ministers meeting in Shanghai on 9-10 July. But, assuming we are in a

President Duterte takes the stage

Want to know why the rest of the world is  a bit nervous about the new president of the Philippines? In this quick comment, Lowy Institute nonresident fellow Malcolm Cook discusses the 'known unknowns and unknown unknowns' of the new Duterte administration that are occupying many in

China ramps up information warfare operations abroad

China’s participation in and sponsorship of international conferences, closed-door trilateral meetings and other forms of academic exchanges has exploded in recent years. From the near absence of Chinese participants a decade ago, the conference circuit is now swarming with panelists, observers

The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter: The analyst's grief

Israel has entered the 'age of the fifth generation combat aircraft'. Its first F-35I 'Adir' was rolled out at Lockheed-Martin's facility in Ft. Worth, Texas. Israel's new Minister of Defense, Avigdor Liberman, attended, and the Israeli media was filled with superlatives: 'deadlier than any other

Islamic State demonstrates its deadly reach

The shocking attack by three terrorists on Kemal Ataturk airport has justifiably horrified us all.  And on the assumption that it has been carried out by Islamic State (the target selection of a tourism hub & lack of claim are similar to other such attacks) it reinforces the view that IS is

The implications of offshore balancing for Australia

After this year's US election, the incoming president will have an opportunity to reset the default position of US grand strategy from liberal interventionism to something more pragmatic, such as offshore balancing. It's an argument I made in an article for the London School of Economics US Centre,

Direct local elections in Indonesia: When populism precedes process

By Brittany Betteridge, an intern with the Lowy Institute's East Asia program. When Jakarta Governor Jokowi was elected president of Indonesia in 2014, his vice governor, Ahok, succeeded him. Jokowi and Ahok had been running mates in the Jakarta gubernatorial election in 2012, with millions of

A bad dry season on the Mekong

With the end of the dry season in the Lower Mekong Basin (LMB) — a period roughly running from November to May — the magnitude of the problems affecting the Mekong River is starkly apparent. With estimates that the river has been at its lowest level in the last 100 years — a circumstance

The 2016 Lowy Institute Poll interactive

Today the Lowy Institute launched the 12th annual Lowy Institute Poll, which asks Australians how the feel about issues concerning the world and Australia's place in it. As always, there are many interesting findings; for analysis of this year's results, see Alex Oliver's post from this morning.  

The migration security nexus in Asia and Australia (part 3)

There is a perpetual wave of migration underway in Asia, much of it through unauthorised channels and often with grave results for both migrants and the broader society of host countries. Human security issues, which relate to people rather than artificial borders created by nation states, merit

Syria: A mutiny at Foggy Bottom?

The controversy surrounding the the release of a draft cable critical of US government policy written by 51 State Department employees has garnered headlines, not so much for the fact that people within the bureaucracy are critical of the President's Syria strategy (given the complexity of the

Chaos in Kunming

Meetings of ASEAN ministers are normally fairly soporific affairs. The organisation's consensus way of making decisions and a strong desire to avoid the diverging interests of its members embarrassing one another or worse creates a dull agenda. When those meetings are with external interlocutors,

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